Written by Katy Goshtasbi
Posted on: February 24, 2020
I’m tough on myself. Really tough. I’m working on clearing up my stinkin’ thinkin’ around being worthy and deserving. I’ve come to realize that I often have compassion and empathy for others, but I could use having more compassion for myself. Let’s talk about self-compassion, a form of self-healing, and how it drives down our stress, increasing our self-confidence. I find there’s two types of people: those that just give up and stop trying and those who kick into overdrive and push hard. I’ve come to really see that I’m the latter.
The common trait both these types of people share is lack of self-compassion or self-love. If this sound icky and mushy, that’s ok. Keep reading anyway. Maybe it’s just an uncomfortable topic because something about it rings true and you feel the pain. That’s a good thing, too. When I am constantly in overdrive and pushing hard in my personal and business life, I’m worn out. Why? I’m worn out because if I stop to be brutally honest, I’m trying to be in control way too much.
What’s wrong with being in control? Nothing. Except for the part where it wears me out because I’m “doing” too much and not getting the results I want necessarily. You all know what I’m talking about if you are anything like me. Don’t lie to yourself, you overachiever.
I’m an immigrant. Overachiever is my middle name, just like so many other immigrants. After all, I have to earn my keep in this great country of ours! I’ve recently come to the painful and startling reality that I am good enough and don’t have to do so much and push so hard in my life. I’m starting to “get” that what I need is to have more faith that it will all work out if I take my foot off the gas.
Self-compassion is the answer. If I loved myself more and had even a tenth of the amount of compassion I have for my clients and my friends, then it would be a great start. In my third book about self-healing, I discuss that self-compassion is a form of self-healing. I also write about my research around stress and self-confidence. As stress goes up, our self-confidence goes down.
So how do we get our stress down? One way is by having self-compassion. The result is that our self-confidence goes up. In other words, I can’t boost my self-confidence directly. I have to first boost the amount of self-compassion I give myself. How?
Because I drive myself so hard, I don’t stop often enough to take really good care of myself. I’m working on self-soothing as a form of this self-compassion and self-healing. Self-soothing for me looks like:
• Talking to myself with more kindness and observing that inner, mean voice that picks on myself. Warning: I’ve discovered this inner voice is often couched as the drill sergeant that is pushing me for my own good and growth. But it isn’t for my own good. Do you have this drill sergeant, too?
• Doing less. This is a challenge for me. Traditionally I’m not so good at sitting still. My immigrant wants to produce results to be loved. So I practice being self-aware of how much I’m doing on a regular basis. What’s enough? When do I turn off the laptop? Can that email wait? Do I really need to work out at 5:30am or is sleeping in better for me today?
I love Wonder Woman. She’s my idol. To me, she gets it done and manages to have fun and be sexy! However, I’ve come to realize that I can’t, and don’t need to, do everything by myself. I’ve come to see that I thrive when I am and feel supported. It hasn’t been easy, though, my friends.
One time, I injured my left arm and wrist. I found myself unable to lift objects as easily. I had to board an airplane. I couldn’t put my bag into the overhead storage on the plane. I offered to check my bag. The strangest thing happened: the gate agent told me to keep my bag and ask someone on the plane for help putting my bag up. I was secretly horrified. Who would I ask? How would I ask them? Would they reject my request or be mean to me?
Most importantly, I realized the final question was whether or not I felt worthy of receiving help? I finally gave in and asked a gentleman for assistance. It may have been my imagination, but his vibe felt like he was a little put out by my request, but he still complied. The resistance I felt from him could have been all in my head. After all, I was not used to asking for help. I used to be a work horse.
Most recently, breast cancer slowed me down and made me realize how wonder “present moment slowness” really can be. I had some serious revelations.
Whatever all this means, I feel good knowing I’m working on self-healing and growing. Increasing self-confidence by having more compassion for myself, reduces my stress. Do I always get it right? No way. I’m a work in progress and that’s a beautiful thing.
What does this mean for you? Stop and consider:
• What do you do these days to love yourself more and be kinder to yourself in order to heal and grow? Again, if this feels dumb or uncomfortable for you, that’s awesome! Be brave and keep looking at it.
• Where could you have more self-compassion for yourself? How would that show up in your life? Specifically:
• How do you self-soothe yourself? Does it feel like enough?
• How often do you ask for support and allow others to support you (whether you pay them or not for this support)?
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